In honor of #DataPrivacyDay, we're taking control of our digital footprint by understanding what exactly social networking sites can do with our data. Twitter, for example, can remove tweets and delete accounts based on a request by a government agency (like the CIA or FBI) or copyright holders (like film studios or music companies), which, at first glance, may sound like a form of censorship.
But, in an effort to increase awareness about removal requests, Twitter released its latest Transparency Report today and a new site dedicated to making the data widely available at transparency.twitter.com. We broke down the numbers and made sense of what Twitter's Transparency Report means for tweeters like you.
- Copyright Notices — Reports of alleged copyright infringement far exceeded any other type of request. These "takedowns" are enabled by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and were granted 53 percent of the time since July 2012. Most cease-and-desist requests came from private firms that specialize in antipiracy. The Recording Industry Association of America, which owns and distributes most recorded music in the US, was a top reporter.
- What this means — There are two ways accounts can be affected by takedown notices: specific tweets can be removed, or media, including profile, header, background, or Twitpic photos, can be deleted. Cease-and-desist orders are granted more than half the time, and, in 2012, 13,079 users were affected. Basically, if you're thinking about posting a link to a leaked album or an illegal movie download — don't.
Look at an overview of the numbers and find out how governments request user information or request content removal after the break.